Simply understood, customer service is the value added during a transaction. This is especially important when the product is a commodity. It’s about the extra value a customer gets when they buy a product readily available in many other places.
Successful service franchisees have figured this out and are overcoming economic issues and competition. They know people like to have a healthy dose of value added in commercial relationships.
Consider these stories:
- A Play Station System got snatched from a doorstep. Although, Amazon was not responsible, the retailer sent a replacement, didn’t charge for shipping and got it there in time for Christmas.
- A security staff member at Nordstrom’s noticed a customer crawling on the floor looking for a diamond that had fallen out of her wedding ring. The staff member recruited a small team to help her search. They found the gem while picking through the dirt and debris picked up from the vacuum cleaner
- A woman ordered six pairs of shoes from Zappos to test after undergoing medical treatment that left her feet sensitive. Her mother called to receive instructions on how to send back the shoes that didn’t work. Two days later the daughter received a get well flower bouquet. Then, her, her mother and sister were also upgraded to “Zappos VIP Members.”
As service guru Tom Peters writes in Beyond Close to the Customer:
- Service is about turning adversaries into partners
- Service is soft and low tech – about attitude, listening, perception and empathy
- Service is about delight, not satisfaction
Service differentiates your business so allow your passion for it to stand out.
According to a recent study in Ad-ology, when a business continues to advertise, especially in tough times, consumers see this as a sign of commitment to their enterprise.
It’s not only good for consumers, it’s good for businesses to advertise because:
Your message is more likely to get noticed and your business is more likely to be remembered when businesses start advertising again.
In fact, tough times are an incredible opportunity to build market share. Studies through recessionary periods in all decades (only three shown here because of space) showed:
1990s: Jif and Kraft Salad dressing grew sales by 57% and 70% respectively by advertising during a recession. (MarketSense Research Study)
1980s: Sales of aggressively advertising firms during the recession grew 275% over those who didn’t. (McGraw Hill Research Study)
1970s: Companies who advertise and market hard can not only maintain but increase their revenues during a recession and subsequent years. (American Business Press Study)
Throughout the Great Depression and all recessions, Proctor and Gamble practiced a philosophy of not reducing advertising budgets even while their competitors cut ad buys. It’s not a coincidence that the company progressed during each of these economic downturns to become the giant it is.